As not everyone living in Cologne has their own garden, you are forced to swerve to the public spaces, e.g. parks.
The Nippeser Tälchen is the best example of this. The name literally means “small valley of Nippes” (and indeed Nippes is located a little higher than the other quartiers of Cologne). In former times a part of the river Rhine floated through this valley.
Nowadays you don’t see water anymore. What you see instead is many people enjoying themselves, young and old, with dogs or without, sitting on one of the benches in the park, playing football in the grass or collecting chestnuts.
If you are hungry or thirsty, check out the café “Altenberger Hof” which is located right next to the Nipesser Tälchen. It is actually not a café but one of Cologne’s Bürgerzentren where different activities for the Cologne citizens take place.
What I like so much about the Nippeser Tälchen is that it is a) only one stone’s throw away from my flat and b) open to everyone, in both senses. No matter if you are alone and are looking for a place go for a short walk or run or if you bring all your friends for a Saturday afternoon soccer match- the Nippeser Tälchen is the place to go.